Friday, 11 April 2008

Euston Arch, new artist's book by Peter Chasseaud, update

I'm trying hard to knock my poetic text of Euston Arch into shape, and I'll post a version here as soon as I can. Thanks to The Lock Tavern in Chalk Farm Road and pints of Peroni for rest and recuperation, and the inspiration of their music listings. Meanwhile, a pint of Harveys bitter at the Lewes Arms this evening, I think. Not too much ale tonight, though, as tomorrow it's the dress rehearsal of the Minotaur at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, from that brilliant team Harrison Birtwistle, Sir John Tomlinson David Harsent, etc.

Peter Chasseaud at Press & Release, Phoenix, Brighton

I'm taking part in the
'PRESS & RELEASE' artists' book exhibition at the Phoenix Arts Association in Brighton, and also in the accompanying one-day artists' book fair on Sat 24th May, so you will be able to see my Kings Cross, Afghanistan and Thames books there. If you want to see my other work-in-progress - e.g. Rosenberg or Erotic Cabinet - you should email me via this blog to make an appointment, or contact me at Studio 3S3, Phoenix Arts Association, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Brighton, BN2 9NB.

Exhibition: 26 Apr – 7 Jun, 2008 PREVIEW: Fri 25 Apr 6–8 pm
Artists' Book Fair: Sat 24 May

'PRESS & RELEASE' is celebration of artists' books and independent publishing, showcasing an intriguing selection of UK and international artists, with work ranging from the profane to sublime. The exhibition provides an opportunity to encounter a range of visions arising out of the world of artists’ books within an imaginative, improvised space dedicated to revealing the artist’s book in a new light. Sculptor Ben Thomson has completely transformed the gallery space into an environment housing the work of individual artists and publishers, presenting books and related ephemera outside the conventional glass case. The show includes over 30 individual artists and groups, with an emphasis on limited edition, hand-made work that stretches the parameters of printmaking, mixed media and other approaches, to arrive at highly original and inventive permutations of the book format. Ranging from underground comics to journals, pop-ups, posters, web-based pieces, installations and gate crashers, the work provides a glimpse into the dense and multifaceted world of self-publishing.Highlights includes John Dilnot’s cabinet of curiosities, hand-cut pages from Kaho Kojima and Chisato Tamabayashi, Batool Showghis’ family albums, Paul Clarke’s gothic childerns’ stories, Mayan women’s collective Taller LeƱateros, and installations by Nicola Dale, found sound duo reassemble, and collaborative trio Borbonesa. In the south gallery, Alasdair Willis scours cyberspace for self-publishing pioneers and rogues, and fills the walls with his discoveries. Books and other publications are for sale in the exhibition through the Permanent Gallery Bookshop.Special guests include Le Dernier Cri, an artists’ publishing house in Marseille that generates beautiful and intense, often disturbing limited-edition books, prints, and animations from European, American, Japanese and South American artists. They are joined by Knust, an artists’ collective from Nijmegen, Netherlands which employs a unique stencil (mimeograph) printing process and champions some inventive ways of producing books, posters, cd’s and wallpaper.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Fieldwork between Mornington Crescent and the Roundhouse

Georgian houses north of the NLR near Camden Road Station;
view from Kentish Town Road

Another good day doing fieldwork between Mornington Crescent and the Roundhouse. I took lots more photos and filled up more of my notebook with ideas for my Euston artist's book. It was sunny and warm, with occasional clouds - perfect conditions for walking, photographing and notemaking (and for a jar in the Lock Tavern, as well as a peep into the Misty Moon, also on Chalk Farm Road).

Gothic, Lolita & Punk in the Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road

Posters in the window of The Lock Tavern, Chalk Farm Road.

I love the names - witty and poetic. This is a brilliant pub.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Steaming to Paris, 1968 (for John May); Music, Rock Festivals and Cars 1967 to 1971

Steaming to Paris, 1968. Amiens station. I seem to remember that 1968 was a busy year, what with being at University (Sheffield), anti-Vietnam War demos, LSE, pop festivals and Paris. There were also John Mayall, Ravi Shankar, A J P Taylor, The Incredible String Band and The Pentangle at the City Hall, and visits to Oxford, Amsterdam, Maldon (for sprits'l barges), Cultybraggan OTC Camp, the Brown Bayley Steelworks, Hull fish dock (St Andrew's Dock), etc.

1969 was also a good year for music at Sheffield (and elsewhere) - see the ENTS schedule below:

And then there were also Pink Floyd at Plumpton, Dylan at the Isle of Wight, as well as more anti-Vietnam demos . . . And I've still got this giant matchbox from the Dylan festival:

Below: me in July 1969

Biba was fun . . .

And so was The Prince Consort on the sea front in Ryde (1971-2, before I did the Afghanistan trip, where I used to drink with Anthony Minghella (I taught him A-level history), Clare, Georgina, Frank, Martin, Debbie and the rest of the Sandown High School contingent. The Minghella Ice Cream Parlour was fun too:

This was my yellow Series I Land Rover 'Gandalf', which I had from 1968 to 1970 (after I had to sell my 1932 Rover Nizam 2-seater sports tourer), taken in the winter of 1969-70 somewhere near Farthing Down while I was on the Foundation Course at Croydon Colege of Art. I used to drive in this to the Sculpture Annexe at Norwood, giving a lift to most of Group 5. Bruce McLean took us for 3-D studies on Fridays - great days. Lunch was a baked potato with baked beans - wonderful grub. I was paying my way through art college by washing the floor at Littlewoods supermarket in the evenings. A shame I can't find a photo of the whole group - there area a few of them in the back of Gandalf (Mick Shillaker is the one with the specs). I also drove Gandalf to the Blues Festival at Plumpton in 1968, Pink Floyd festival at Plumpton 1969, Isle of Wight Festival 1969 (Dylan) and Bath Festival 1970. He got around the Derbyshire hills all right in my last year at Sheffield (1968-9), but broke something serious on Abbotsbury Hill in Dorset. Apart from the name painted in gothic black letter script on each door, he also had a black and red anarchist flag painted on the front mudguard. No heating of course. I froze right to the bone.

Below is my 1932 Rover Nizam 2-seater sports tourer, outside my digs in Sheffield in November 1967. The water pump never worked, so I had to keep stoping at garages and elsewhere to top it up with water when it boiled over. I bought it for £40 in 1966, and drove it up the M1, which was gradually being extended northward at the time, from Thornton Heath to Sheffield (the M1 at the time ran from Hendon to south of Chesterfield, I think). No heating of course. I froze right to the bone. In the end I couldn't afford to restore and keep this splendid car, which had a wooden body frame with metal over plywood panels, going, so I had to sell it (again for £40). I hope it's still running somewhere.
Below is the poster I designed for the event on 18 November 1969 when David Bowie came to play accoustic guitar and sing Space Oddity (and other stuff) at the Gun Tavern in Croydon. I was part of something called Croydon Arts Lab at the time, but we somehow shortened that to Egg, hence the shape of the image.

The one below is self-explanatory:

And so is ths one:

Bath Festival 1970. What a line-up!:

I went up from London to the Lincoln Folk Festival in July 1971 on the wing of an open Mini-Moke, with my Canadian friend Frank (who I travelled with to Afghanistan and India in 1972) and his friends. There were 7 of us in and on this Moke. I don't think this would be allowed now! I was living in Muswell Hill at the time, kitchen-portering at John Lewes in Oxford Street as a summer job before going to teach for a year on the Isle of Wight:

My art college portfolio, 1969-70

I've just found this old b/w print of the cover of my art college portfolio (Croydon College of Art, foundation course, 1969-70). A montage of images which I'd collected over the previous few years. I wish I could identify the sources. I think a lot came from Sunday colour supplements. There's Castro, Trotsky, Dylan, Verushka (?), etc. Can anyone identify any more? Is that Karl Marx in the little drawing right in the middle? Pity it's not in colour. Revolution as style, or a fashion gesture?

Friday, 4 April 2008

Camden Lock, Chalk Farm, The Lock Tavern

The Lock Tavern, Chalk Farm Road

The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road

On Tuesday (1st April) and yesterday (3rd April) I was doing a lot more fieldwork in the Euston - Camden - Chalk Farm area for my Euston Arch artist's book / poetic text project, and I've been regularly dropping in to The Lock Tavern (formerly the Wellington Arms and the Railway Tavern) for a pint of Peroni after a lot of footslogging. A pity about the price of beer these days, but apart from that The Lock Tavern's a great pub with a fantastic music scene. Across the road is the Stables Market in the old railway goods depot - visually brilliant with all sorts of Punk - Goth - Lolita - Burlesque outfits. I took some photos with my old 35mm camera as my digital camera malfunctioned last week (also here at Chalk Farm while I was taking photos of the remaining early 19th century houses on Chalk Farm Road), and when I've had them processed I'll scan them and put some images on the blog.

Like everywhere, the greed of property owners and developers is wrecking the subtle fabric and texture of much of our towns and cities, and I fear this is happening at Camden Market as well. I was also aware of it around the Whitechapel Gallery yesterday evening, where I went to a talk by Jean Moorcroft-Wilson about her new biography of Isaac Rosenberg (see elsewhere in this blog for images of my developing Rosenberg project). Along the main roads in Whitechapel the old buildings are disappearing at a rapid rate, and the sense of place and community is being lost. Even Tracy Emin, who's bought an old weaver's house in Spitalfields, is complaining about the havoc being created by over-development. My Kings Cross and Thames books were both very much concerned with the human scale and visual and material texture of urban landscape (Rilke said that we find out about ourselves from things we create - our landscape), and if our recent inhuman creations are anything to go by, we have a hell of a problem!
Out of control? Where is local democracy? And even then, local authorities are conspiring with developers to privatise public spaces. Whole areas of city centres being sold off and effectively lost to the people at large. Public streets being turned into gated commercial communities, with private security guards. I hear that parts of Liverpool and London's Chinatown and Camberwell have suffered, or are suffering, in this way (see The Guardian last Saturday). Tom Paine would have had something to say about all this, I'm sure. What unholy deal has 'New Labour' done with the big money? Too late to reclaim the streets?